Vote on Gaza and Israel ceasefire

On Wednesday 15 November 2023 there were amendments tabled to the Motion on the King’s Speech. HM Opposition Labour Party and the SNP tabled two amendments on the conflict in Gaza. 

In my speech during the King’s Speech debate, I referred to the conflict:  “I say to the right hon. Member for Gainsborough that we are talking about a ceasefire not only to enable the hostages to be released but to stop the killing of innocent civilians. When organisations such as the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development cannot even enter Gaza and do the work they need to do, and when 44% of the United Nations workers have been killed, we have to do something. We cannot sit back and do nothing, which is why I will add my voice to the calls for a ceasefire to enable our brilliant diplomats to try to find a solution to this intolerable situation. People may have seen what took place at the weekend, but let me say that I was writing this speech and I just could not carry on, as it was incredibly upsetting to see babies’ bodies lined up—that is just a horrific thing. They have done absolutely nothing; they have just come into this world, and for what—just to be dead? Parents and all sorts of people are facing incredible difficulties, not being able to eat or drink; doctors are even unable to carry out operations.”

The first amendment (r)was tabled by HM Opposition in the name of Sir Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party.

 “and submit to Your Majesty that this House wishes to see an end to the violence in Israel and Palestine; unequivocally condemn the horrific terrorist attack and murder of civilians by Hamas, call for the immediate release of all hostages and reaffirm Israel’s right to defend its citizens from terrorism; believe all human life is equal and that there has been too much suffering, including far too many deaths of innocent civilians and children, over the past month in Gaza; reaffirm the UK’s commitment to the rules-based international order, international humanitarian law and the jurisdiction of the ICC to address the conduct of all parties in Gaza and Hamas’s attacks in Israel; call on Israel to protect hospitals and lift the siege conditions allowing food, water, electricity, medicine and fuel into Gaza; request the Government continue to work with the international community to prevent a wider escalation of the conflict in the region, guarantee that people in Gaza who are forced to flee during this conflict can return to their homes and seek an end to the expansion of illegal settlements and settler violence in the West Bank; and, while acknowledging the daily humanitarian pauses to allow in aid and the movement of civilians, believe they must be longer to deliver humanitarian assistance on a scale that begins to meet the desperate needs of the people of Gaza, which is a necessary step to an enduring cessation of fighting as soon as possible and a credible, diplomatic and political process to deliver the lasting peace of a two-state solution.”

I voted Aye to Amendment (r), but this was defeated:  Ayes 183 : Noes 290.

Amendment (h) was tabled by the SNP in the name of the Westminster leader Stephen Flynn.

“but respectfully regret that the Gracious Speech fails to include measures that would require the Government to uphold international law and protect all civilians in Israel and Palestine; unequivocally condemn the horrific killings by Hamas and the taking of hostages; reaffirm that there must be an end to the collective punishment of the Palestinian people; call for the urgent release of all hostages and an end to the siege of Gaza to allow vital supplies of food, fuel, medicine and water to reach the civilian population; note the growing calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire from the United Nations and its aid agencies; and therefore call on the Government to join with the international community in urgently pressing all parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire.”

 I voted Aye to Amendment (h), but this was defeated:  Ayes 125 : Noes 293.